Wichita Fire Department provides the 4th’s final safety reminder

Published: Jul. 4, 2022 at 6:16 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Many Fourth of July firework sales have been and remain strong this holiday. But while sellers are hoping their products fly off the shelves, the Wichita Fire Department is reminding fireworks lovers to stay safe.

That’s because the WFD has already responded to at least one fire caused by fireworks. Investigators say witnesses say kids firing roman candles before a Saturday-afternoon fire near Grove and Shadybrook. Roman candles are illegal within city limits, but investigators said one of those fireworks ignited a fire on the front porch and spread to the attic.

So while firefighters are encouraging people to have fun, they want enthusiasts to practice common sense when shooting fireworks.

Safety is important because sales have been strong this year, including at a fireworks stand at 13th and Tyler in northwest Wichita.

“It’s been a tough year, but everybody’s really wanting to have fun,” said Kim Booth, who was selling fireworks at that stand on Monday. “And lots of neighborhoods are getting together and shooting them off together, so that’s good.”

Some are watching videos of fireworks in action before buying them. And some families say prices are reasonable compared to last year.

“Honestly, the prices from the fireworks are a lot better this year than what they have been,” fireworks shopper Damein Huckabee said. “That pack we just bought for $189 (was) usually about $200 last year, so the fireworks are actually cheaper this year.”

With more people shooting fireworks this week, Wichita firefighters say they’ve been responding to more calls of people improperly disposing of fireworks that then cause fires.

“(We) just want to make sure everybody continues to think of safety, wet your fireworks down, keep them away from the house, don’t put it in the garbage can,” WFD Battalion Chief Jose Ocadiz said. “Then, in the morning time, be a good neighbor and clean up all the used fireworks.”

Only fireworks sold within Wichita are legal within the city limits.

For some shoppers, buying fireworks is about supporting community causes.

“We’re just kind of looking for fireworks, trying to see which ones are the best,” shopper Shelby Wright said. “Just trying to support causes. Each tent has a cause.”

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